Elena Shulyak is one of our STEM Coaches in the Curious Minds Program. She is an avid believer in young girls following their passion in STEM subjects and working to solve complex problems.
I graduated from university as an Electronics Engineer, and since then, I have been practising engineering, mostly Aerospace, for 18 years. I am a second-generation engineer in my family. My mum was a chemical engineer working in the electronics industry, and she was a role model for me to become an engineer.
Math was [always] my strongest subject, but I wanted to work in an area where I could practically apply my knowledge rather than develop theory. I also was curious about how computers work and what is inside them.
One of the highlights of my career [so far] was the moment when I saw the first flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner when I was working in Everett, WA, USA. Another more recent moment was when we returned from storage Qantas aircraft; it was a moment of pride when the aircraft did a first test flight without any issues after a few months in storage.
Returning to work after the maternity leave was quite challenging as I had to jump from being all-time at home to a full-time job in the office. Luckily now the workplaces are more flexible than a few years ago.
I had a few mentors at my workplace who taught me how to see the big picture and find the next step in my career. I want to encourage high-school female students to pursue their careers in STEM fields if they are interested in Math. I want to help them to overcome some misbeliefs and worries. I believe that female engineers can bring diversity to engineering.
This interview was developed in partnership with 3M.